Can Humans Use Dog Shampoo? 

It sounds like a weird question but there are many reasons why you might find yourself wondering, can humans use dog shampoo? The short answer is yes and no.

There are specific reasons why dog shampoo may not be advisable for people. But there are also some valid exceptions.

can humans use dog shampoo

Are There Any Differences Between Dog and Human Shampoo?


Any shampoo is made from the same basic ingredients. But the extra additives will differ depending on which animal the shampoo is meant for.

For example, dog shampoos have extra ingredients such as salicylic acid, aloe or hydrocortisone. These relieve symptoms of skin allergies such as itching.

Some of them are treated with chemicals that eliminate and control pests including ticks and fleas. This is not the case for human shampoo.


Dog shampoo has a pH of between 6.5 and 7.5. This is because the skin of dogs is more neutral than human skin. In case you may be wondering, pH lets us know how acidic or alkaline a substance is.

A dog’s skin is somewhere in the middle of the scale, therefore, shampoos for dogs are made to suit that.

Skin thickness

The human version of shampoo is formulated for cleaning thick skin. Dogs have skin three times thinner than human skin. As a result, any products made for dogs are much milder than their human equivalents.

A woman washing her hair

Why Would Anyone Want To Use Dog Shampoo?


Dog shampoos are milder on the skin, even more so than baby shampoos. Because of this, some people prefer to use them instead of human shampoo.

Ticks, lice and fleas

Some use dog shampoo to treat and control pests in their hair. For people who like the outdoors, this might sound like a good option.

Ticks are especially difficult because they hide in the folds of the skin. What’s more, they can cause serious diseases. There are no products made to fight off ticks in humans which is why dog shampoo is so appealing.

Give hair a bounce

Many people say that dog shampoo firms their hair and gives it a curly bounce. A lot of people use dog shampoo to help make hair easier to style.

Can Humans Use Dog Shampoo Safely?

Using dog shampoo is not highly recommended. Here are some reasons why dog shampoo might not be such a great idea.

Harmful ingredients

Some dog shampoos may contain ingredients such as Phytosphingosine which are bad for your health.

There are lots of other hard to pronounce things that are usually added to ward off pests on dogs. But if these get through your skin and into your blood it could be harmful to you.

Other canine shampoos use something called formaldehyde. This substance is carcinogenic which means it can cause cancer.

Bottom line if you can’t pronounce any of the contents on the back label of the dog shampoo, don’t even think about using it on your hair. Or on your children’s hair.

May Not Be So Kind On Your Hair

Using dog shampoo may dry out your hair. The many chemicals they put to keep pests away from your furry friend can suck out all the oils from your scalp. Leaving your hair dry and brittle.

If you use the shampoo regularly, your hair may break off and it will be difficult to repair. You may even have to cut it off.

It Affects the pH of Your Skin

To help your skin stay strong and healthy, it needs to maintain an acidic pH. If you use dog shampoo on your hair, it changes the pH of your skin. This could cause all sorts of problems for your skin.

A puppy being bathed with dog shampoo

What Could Happen To Your Skin If You Use Dog Shampoo?

Bacterial Infections

Dog shampoo has a higher pH than that required for human skin. This could leave you open to getting bacterial infections. You don’t want that.

Skin Irritation

Sharing shampoo with your dogs may cause some irritation on your skin that will make you itchy. On top of that, your skin may become red and horrible looking.

Bad reactions

Using these products on your skin may cause allergic reactions. You can get breakouts, rashes and even more serious reactions like breathing problems. Some of the chemicals may even cause more complicated reactions like vomiting and seizures if they get into your eyes or mouth.

Are There Any Exceptions?

Not all dog shampoos are bad for you. Here’s why;

Natural Products

Some natural products don’t contain some of the harsh ingredients. For example, you can use natural oatmeal products on both your human and dog babies. You won’t get any of the harsh reactions and it’s great because you don’t have to buy many different products.

Works for Difficult Hair

Some people swear by dog shampoo. They say it helps their frizzy hair have a great bounce making it easier to work with. Many of those people have not had any bad reactions.

Get Rid of Lice and Fleas

If you have a problem with lice, you can use puppy shampoo to get rid of them faster. Most of the recommended products for humans are natural essential oils which take time to work.

No one has the time or patience to wait for natural healing when you have an infestation. Which is why dog products may be lifesavers.

Dealing with Ticks

If you are into outdoor stuff like hunting, you will occasionally have problems with ticks. These pesky little pests can hide in all the hard to reach spots on your body.

Getting them out is usually a nightmare. In most cases, there are no recommended human product for ticks. Pooch shampoo can help do the trick.

Final word

Can humans use dog shampoo? Well, that’s still up for debate. While it may not be highly recommended the occasional use can prove to be quite useful.

Just like with human skincare products, each person may have a different reaction. Remember to consult with an expert before you use any canine shampoo on your hair.